London-born rapper Ocean Wisdom, named the “future of UK Hip-Hop” by Complex Magazine, has enjoyed a meteoric rise since he dropped his debut track ‘Walkin’’ in the summer of 2015. Since then, he has released three sensational albums, collaborating with Hip-Hop heavyweights such as Dizzee Rascal. Continue reading Preview: Ocean Wisdom @ The Lemon Grove
Kanye’s latest album, Jesus is King, has interesting ideas about how to blend hip-hop and gospel but is let down by inconsistent execution and poor lyricism, and is a disappointing return after two years of leaks and teasings. A track that is emblematic of this is ‘Water’, where Kanye raps on themes regarding rebirth and the healing power of faith, and its ability to purify. These are especially relevant given Kanye’s attempt to rebrand and move away from topics like sex and drugs. The production is simple but effective and provides a smooth, solid base for Ant Clemons’ excellent feature. Clemons sings well and is the highlight of the song, but he is let down by lazy lyricism from Kanye. Rather than speaking on his evolution as an artist, he decides to repeat variations of Jesus save us, which marks a concerning decline for the once revolutionary, boundary-pushing artist. Continue reading Singles’ Round-Up
Before Amber Run’s gig at The Lemon Grove, I chatted to the band’s lead singer Joshua “Joe” Keogh. With the support act’s sound check playing faintly in the background, we discussed everything from their new album Philophobia, to their inspiration, and the sometimes crazy responses of their fans.
So, the new album’s just come out, I thought I’d start by asking you a couple questions about that. How are you finding the initial response to it?
I think it’s been good. [Although] I don’t actually read reviews because, for the first record and the second record, I definitely did and I fell into that trap of [seeing that] they’re all great and then you see the one that says you’re terrible and [that affects you]. I’ve started to realise, for my own sanity, just not to read any and to know that what you did was the best you could do in that moment. So, I believe it’s going well but I couldn’t tell you for certain. Continue reading Interview: Joshua “Joe” Keogh from Amber Run
Arriving at the Lemon Grove just before the doors opened, I was a little surprised to see a relatively large queue. Whilst Amber Run’s lively sounds have, undeniably, brought them success, they are perhaps still on the fringes of mainstream indie and are yet to enter the realm of such names as The Arctic Monkeys or The 1975. But it seems Amber Run have some particularly devoted fans, as would become more apparent as the evening went on. Continue reading Review: Amber Run @ The Lemon Grove
The Lumineers’ third album III, is the folk-rock band’s most ambitious project yet. Through music and visuals, it traces the narrative of three generations of the fictional Sparks family and its struggles with drug abuse and alcoholism. III is also a deeply personal work, as the characters in the album are based in part on members of lead vocalist Wesley Schultz’s own family. The album is enhanced by a short film composed of ten music videos depicting the Sparks family’s story. The film is dark and graphically violent; Wesley’s vocals, accompanied by sparse piano and guitar are at turns angry and melancholic. This is an album that is unrelenting in its heartbreak and at times blindly focused on narrative. Continue reading Review: The Lumineers III
‘Family and Loyalty’ by Gang Starr (feat. J. Cole)
In their first project in sixteen years, classic rap duo Gang Starr (featuring J. Cole) harken back to the golden age of hip-hop with a single reminiscent of their seminal album, Moment of Truth. DJ Premier constructs a jazzy, boom-bap beat around an unreleased verse from Guru, who tragically passed away in 2010. The beat perfectly suits Guru’s flow, with the gentle pianos underscoring his smooth voice. The lyrics are unsubtle, with ideas of the longevity of friendship and classic rap at the forefront, which is juxtaposed with comparisons to the modern genre that is moving away from conscious rap. Cole’s feature serves to hand over the baton to the next generation of conscious rap, and whilst his flow sounds clumsy at times, his message is no less important and relevant. This is a well-constructed single that reinforces the value of old school rap to the rest of the genre. Continue reading Singles’ Round-Up
Something many students do not know is that in the week before Freshers’ every year, the University welcomes a crowd of musically gifted students onto campus for a week of music making. Freshers and returners alike get to take part in a range of workshops, from African drumming to jazz improvisation, not forgetting the annual pilgrimage to Unit 1 dressed in our ‘garish garms’. Continue reading Review: BSO’s Love and Loss